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Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi has taken this morning's Motegi MotoGP race win and with it the 2008 MotoGP title.
He is now the only man to win the premier class MotoGP World Championship with 500cc, 990cc and 800cc machinery, returning this year to the pinnacle after two seasons away. Rossi's natural skill, charisma and flair has already made him a huge fans' favourite and at just 29 years of age, he is already one of the sport’s true greats.
With his victory at Motegi sealing a sixth MotoGP title, Rossi moved one step closer to legendary status in a season already notable for his record-breaking performances. At Indianapolis, the Fiat Yamaha rider took the record for all-time premier class victories from Giacomo Agostini, incidentally the only other rider to have regained the title after two years away, with a 69th triumph, followed by a 70th today.
Rossi had started from the second row of the grid, and looked to be on the back foot when Stoner took the holeshot and attempted to break away. The top three in the standings, Rossi, Stoner and Pedrosa became embroiled in an early battle for supremacy, narrowed down to a duel on lap five courtesy of a hard overtaking move by Stoner on his Spanish rival. The Ducati rider apologised for the pass, which took place on the run-up to the bridge section of the circuit, but still upped the pace in the ensuing laps –with Rossi hot on his tail.

The definitive pass for Rossi came on lap fourteen, and the Italian was able to do what he had done in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005: clinch the MotoGP World Championship with a race victory.

Stoner, a valiant foe for his successor over the course of the year, returned to the podium after three races off the rostrum. Whilst it was not enough to prevent Rossi from confirming the title, it still marked his first top three finish in Japan in the premier class.


The battle for the final podium place came down to two Spanish stars, with Pedrosa chased down by poleman Jorge Lorenzo. The Repsol Honda rider was put under pressure by the Fiat Yamaha rookie, and the two rivals clipped wheels on the final lap. Neither hit the asphalt, but Lorenzo was left without the chance of maintaining his run of top three finishes.

Nicky Hayden and Loris Capirossi rounded off the top six, with the experienced Italian unable to repeat his winning ways of the past three years at Motegi. Colin Edwards, Shinya Nakano, Andrea Dovizioso and John Hopkins also featured in the top ten, with the only crash of the race coming from Rizla Suzuki wildcard Kousuke Akiyoshi

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